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  • Robert Mason
    {The text within [brackets] is mine; the rest is Steiner s, through the translator. -- RM} [As a continuation of my struggles with the 7fold dialectic, I have
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 30, 2010
      {The text within [brackets] is mine; the rest is
      Steiner's, through the translator. -- RM}

      [As a continuation of my struggles with the
      7fold dialectic, I have undertaken to parse
      this, the introductory chapter of Steiner's most
      comprehensive and basic book *An Outline of
      Occult Science*, choosing this chapter mainly
      because of its fundamental nature -- but again,
      also because it is not too very long.

      [I was looking for the sevenfolded dialectical
      rhythm that Bondarev has declared to be the
      natural development of a thinking that is
      carried through consistently.  And, I have to
      confess, that I did not find here that rhythm as
      easily and as obviously as I seemed to with the
      speeches of the Guardians and with the last
      chapter from the book *Theosophy*.  This chapter
      from *OS* would not fall neatly and easily into
      sevenfolded movements; it just flat refused to
      do it.  For a while, the 7fold model seemed to
      break down; it seemed that Steiner's writing in
      this chapter did not fit into the pattern that
      Bondarev described.  Nevertheless, after many
      repeated readings, I finally came to see that
      7folded pattern emerge; not in a simple,
      straightforward way, but in a many-branched,
      tangled, complicated way. Still it is "there" to
      be seen, through the requisite effort.

      [To me, this chapter seems to fall into two
      major parts:  the first concerns the term and
      the concept of *occult science* itself, its
      justification as a "science" in the modern
      sense; the second concerns the development of
      the occult scientist himself, his inner changes
      and the method of his training.  These two parts
      are brought together and combined in the final,
      short, emphatic, and startling final paragraph.

      [The first part seems to be comprised of only
      one "cycle", but a cycle of three branches.  The
      one "thesis" is opposed by three "antitheses",
      each flowing into its own branch of
      argumentation.  One branch ends abruptly, but
      the other two streams into sub-branches which
      themselves provide the "elements" according to
      the pattern posited by Bondarev.  Thus, this
      cycle is 7folded, but not in just one, but
      several, parallel (as it were) routes.

      [The second main part seems (to me, after
      consideration) to be just as, or even more
      complicated, but still 7folded.  The first cycle
      (i.e. the second of the whole chapter) itself
      divides into parallel branches, which then
      converge again, but *appear* to end short of
      completion.  Then follow three more cycles,
      which are comparatively simply 7folded.  But
      then, surprisingly, the first cycle of this part
      (i.e. the second cycle of the chapter) is
      resumed and completed in the final paragraph,
      which also concludes and completes the second
      main part, indeed the whole chapter.]

      [In sum, I see two parts overall:

      [part 1]
      [Cycle 1:  thesis:  the term occult science
          3 antitheses, 3 branches:  a, b, c
              1.2c goes no further   
              1.xb (x=2,3,4,5,6,7)
              1.2a which itself branches into
                  a 7folded sub-cycle "aa"
                        in a footnote;
                   also into three sub-streams
                          1.xaz (x=2,3,4,5,6,7;

      [part 2: the soul development of the occult     
      [Cycle 2:  thesis:  two basic thoughts
             and five antitheses 2.2x (x=a,b,c,d,e)
                 followed by four syntheses 2.3x
                  elements 2.3a and 2.3b being
                       7folded sub-cycles;
             cycle converging and apparently ending
                      with 2.4
      [Cycles 3,4 5:  theses:  strength, proof, study
                  (each *relatively* simply
      [Concluding paragraph:  finishing Cycle 2 (2.5,
      2.6, 2.7) and summing the second "part", and even
      the whole chapter]

      * * *

      Book: Occult Science (1972): The Character of
      Occult Science  [from the eLib]

      An Outline of Occult Science



      [Cycle 1]

      [1.1 -- "Thesis", theme:  the term *occult

      OCCULT science, an ancient term, is used for the
      contents of this book.

      [1.2 -- The first, general "antithesis": 
      various kinds of "contrariness":]

      This term can arouse in various individuals of
      the present day feelings of the most contrary

      [1.2a -- One kind of contrariness:  false
      rejection (here begins what I call a *branch*;
      in this case the "a" branch):]

      For many, it possesses something repellent; it
      arouses derision, pitying smiles, perhaps
      contempt. These people imagine that the kind of
      thinking thus designated can only be based upon
      idle, fantastic dreaming, that behind such
      "alleged" science there can lurk only the
      impulse to renew all sorts of superstitions that
      are properly avoided by those who understand
      "true scientific methods" and "pure intellectual

      [1.2b -- Another kind of contrariness:  false

      The effect of this term upon others is to cause
      them to think that what is meant by it must
      bring them something that cannot be acquired in
      any other way and to which, according to their
      nature, they are attracted by a deep, inner
      longing for knowledge, or by the soul's
      sublimated curiosity.

      [Note:  It is unclear to me, within this
      preceding sentence, what is meant by *any other
      way*.  "Other" than what "way"? -- Another
      translation has:  "Others are differently
      affected. They feel that what is signified by
      this term will bring them something unattainable
      in any other way, something to which they are
      drawn — according to their disposition — by a
      deep inner longing for knowledge or a refined
      curiosity of soul." -- The German has:  "Auf
      andere wirkt das Wort so, als ob ihnen das damit
      Gemeinte etwas bringen müsse, was auf keinem
      anderen Wege zu erlangen ist und zu dem sie, je
      nach ihrer Veranlagung, tief innerliche
      Erkenntnissehnsucht oder seelisch verfeinerte
      Neugierde hinzieht." -- The key phrase here is
      *auf keinem anderen Wege*, meaning, literally,
      *in no other way*.  So, the obscurity of the
      meaning seems not to be due to a defect in the
      translation.  Therefore, I look forward in
      Steiner's text for a clarification.  If the
      subsequent discussion (criticizing those for
      whom "the term, occult science, has a magical
      sound because it seems to satisfy their fatal
      passion for knowledge of an 'unknown', of a
      mysterious, even of an obscure something that is
      not to be acquired in a natural way") is a
      follow-up to, a commentary on, this immediately
      preceding sentence, then, apparently, the "way"
      referenced is meant to be "other" than
      "dreaming" and/or "superstition".  The
      alternative interpretation would be that the
      "other way" is "true scientific methods" and/or
      "pure intellectual endeavor", as mentioned in
      the sentence immediately preceding the one under
      consideration here.  But this interpretation
      would imply that this second kind of
      contrariness would not be very "other" than the
      first.  The whole subsequent context seems to
      require that this second kind of contrariness is
      a false acceptance based on a non-scientific
      attitude.  -- Therefore, I adopt my first
      interpretation, that this "no other way" is
      "dreaming" and/or "superstition".  And so, we
      apparently have a second branch of the
      antithesis, a branch I call the "b" branch.]

      [1.2c -- More antitheses:  a general reference
      to myriad other kinds of contrariness:]

      In between these sharply contrasting opinions
      there exists every possible kind of intermediate
      stage of conditional rejection or acceptance of
      what this or that person imagines when he hears
      the term, "occult science."

      [1.3b -- A continuation, a "synthesis" of the
      "b" antithesis and the thesis:  an evaluation of
      the indicated false defense of occult science:]

      — It is not to be denied that for many the term,
      occult science, has a magical sound because it
      seems to satisfy their fatal passion for
      knowledge of an "unknown," of a mysterious, even
      of an obscure something that is not to be
      acquired in a natural way. For many people do
      not wish to satisfy the deepest longings of
      their souls by means of something that can be
      clearly understood. Their convictions lead them
      to conclude that besides what can be known in
      the world there must be something that defies
      cognition. With extraordinary absurdity, which
      they do not observe, they reject, in regard to
      the deepest longing for knowledge [*die tiefsten           
      Erkenntnissehnsuchten*], all that "is known" and
      only wish to give their approval to something
      that cannot be said to be known by means of
      ordinary research.

      [1.4b -- Here the "b" branch advances to
      Bondarev's fourth stage:  the true proponent of
      occult science must recognize (behold) the truth
      about the false defenders of occult science:]

      He who speaks of "occult science" will do well
      to keep in mind the fact that he is confronted
      by misunderstandings caused by just such
      defenders of a science of this kind — defenders
      who are striving, in fact, not for knowledge,
      but for its antithesis.  [*von Verteidigern, die
      eigentlich nicht ein Wissen, sondern das Gegenteil
      {contrary, reverse} davon anstreben*.]

      [1.5b -- And now the "b" branch moves forward to
      the stage of "perceiving" the archetypal Idea
      behind this rejection of the unscientific
      acceptance of the "occult, and thus points even
      to the intent behind the whole book (*OS*):]

      This work is intended for readers who will not
      permit their impartiality to be taken away from
      them just because a word may arouse prejudice
      through various circumstances. It is not here a
      question of knowledge which, in any respect, can
      be considered to be "secret" and therefore only
      accessible to certain people through some
      special favor of fate.

      [1.6b -- Further, the "b" branch proceeds to an
      "individualization" of this Idea:  the example
      of Goethe:]

      We shall do justice to the use of the term,
      occult science, employed here, if we consider
      what Goethe has in mind when he speaks of the
      "revealed secrets" in the phenomena of the

      [1.7b -- The "all-unity", the upshot of this "b"
      branch:  what is occult is merely the non-

      What remains "secret" — unrevealed — in these
      phenomena when grasped only by means of the
      senses and the intellect bound up with them will
      be considered as the content of a supersensible
      mode of knowledge.1

      [Parenthetical cycle 1.2aa -- A footnote in
      later editions refers back to the "a"
      antithesis; I call this the "aa" sub-cycle,
      which is itself 7folded.]

      [1.2aa.1 -- The "thesis" element of this sub-
      cycle . . . .]

      It has happened that the term "occult science,"
      as used by the author in earlier editions of
      this book,

      [1.2aa.2 -- . . . . is followed by the
      "antithesis" element of the sub-cycle:]

      has been rejected for the reason that a science
      cannot be "something hidden."

      [1.2aa.3 -- And the "synthesis", on
      consideration of those two:]

      That would be correct if the matter were meant
      in this way.

      [1.2aa.4 -- But "behold":]

      But such is not the case.

      [1.2aa.5 -- The archetypal Idea of "occult
      science" implies that it is not "hidden" in
      *that* sense:  {This whole discussion naturally
      makes more sense in the original German than in
      the translation, for Steiner was writing in real
      German, not quasi-Latin as in the English
      translation.  The crucial German term under
      consideration is *Geheimwissenschaft*, not
      *occult science*.  *Geheim* means, literally,
      *secret* or *hidden*.}]

      The science of nature cannot be called a
      "natural" science in the sense that it belongs
      by "nature" to everyone, nor does the author
      consider occult science as a "hidden" science,
      but one that has to do with the unrevealed, the
      concealed, in the phenomena of the world for
      ordinary methods of cognition. 

      [1.2aa.6 -- The particularized application of
      that Idea to the objection under consideration:
      {Again, this is more understandable in the
      German:  ". . . . eine Wissenschaft von dem
      «Geheimen», von dem «offenbaren Geheimnis»". 
      Literally, to my limited understanding of
      German:  ". . . . a science of the "secrets', of
      the "revealed mysteries'.}]

      It is a science of the "mysteries," of the
      "revealed secrets."

      [1.2aa.7 -- The upshot of the sub-
      cycle/footnote:  the essential thing is to seek
      (occult) knowledge (*Erkenntnisse*) by the
      "proper" methods:]

      This science, however, should not be a secret
      for anyone who seeks knowledge of it by the
      proper methods.

      [The main text resumes.]

      [Branch 1.xab -- a continuation, another branch,
      of the "1.2a" antithesis (false rejection of
      occult science as allegedly being unscientific),
      a "xab" branch:]

      [1.2ab -- Theme, an antithesis to "1.1":  some
      consider science to deal only with the sensory:]

      — What is meant here by "Occult Science" does
      not constitute science for anyone who only
      considers "scientific" what is revealed through
      the senses and the intellect serving them.

      [1.3ab -- This limitation is not objectively
      justified; the synthesis of the two preceding
      elements (1.1 and 1.2a/ab) is that the essence
      of science is the soul-activity, not the

      If, however, such a person wishes to understand
      himself, he must acknowledge that he rejects
      occult science, not from well-substantiated
      insight, but from a mandate arising from his own
      personal feelings. In order to understand this,
      it is only necessary to consider how science
      comes into existence and what significance it
      has in human life. The origin of science, in its
      essential nature, is not recognized by means of
      the subject matter it is dealing with, but by
      means of the human soul-activity arising in
      scientific endeavor. We must consider the
      attitude of the soul when it elaborates science.
      If we acquire the habit of exercising this kind
      of activity only when we are concerned with the
      manifestation of the senses, we might easily be
      led to the opinion that this sense-manifestation
      is the essential thing, and we do not become
      aware that a certain attitude of the human soul
      has been employed only in regard to the
      manifestation of the senses.

      [1.4ab -- Behold the crux of the matter:  this
      putative limitation can be overcome in practice,
      through application of real scientific

      It is possible, however, to rise above this
      arbitrary self-limitation and, apart from
      special application, consider the
      characteristics of scientific activity. This is
      the basis for our designating as "scientific"
      the knowledge of a non-sensory world-content.

      [1.5ab  -- The archetypal Idea here:  occult
      science treats the non-sensory as natural
      science treats the sensory:]

      The human power of thought wishes to occupy
      itself with this latter world-content just as it
      occupies itself, in the other case, with the
      world-content of natural science. Occult science
      desires to free the natural-scientific method
      and its principle of research from their special
      application that limits them, in their own
      sphere, to the relationship and process of
      sensory facts, but, at the same time, it wants
      to retain their way of thinking and other
      characteristics. It desires to speak about the
      non-sensory in the same way natural science
      speaks about the sensory. While natural science
      remains within the sense world with this method
      of research and way of thinking, occult science
      wishes to consider the employment of mental
      activity upon nature as a kind of self-education
      of the soul and to apply what it has thus
      acquired to the realms of the non-sensory. Its
      method does not speak about the sense phenomena
      as such, but speaks about the non-sensory world-
      content in the way the scientist talks about the
      content of the sensory world. It retains the
      mental attitude of the natural-scientific
      method; that is to say, it holds fast to just
      the thing that makes natural research a science.
      For that reason it may call itself a science.

      [1.6ab -- A particular implication of this Idea
      in one's life:  the significance of science is
      the soul-process involved and the concomitant
      development of the soul:]

      When we consider the significance of natural
      science in human life, we shall find that this
      significance cannot be exhausted by acquiring a
      knowledge of nature, since this knowledge can
      never lead to anything but an experiencing of
      what the human soul itself is not. The soul-
      element does not live in what man knows about
      nature, but in the process of acquiring
      Knowledge. The soul experiences itself in its
      occupation with nature. What it vitally achieves
      in this activity is something besides the
      knowledge of nature itself: it is self-
      development experienced in acquiring knowledge
      of nature.

      [1.7ab -- The upshot of the preceding discussion
      (of this branch or branch):  the overall
      attitude of the occult scientist:]

      Occult science desires to employ the results of
      this self-development in realms that lie beyond
      mere nature. The occult scientist has no desire
      to undervalue natural science; on the contrary,
      he desires to acknowledge it even more than the
      natural scientist himself. He knows that,
      without the exactness of the mode of thinking of
      natural science, he cannot establish a science.
      Yet he knows also that after this exactness has
      been acquired through genuine penetration into
      the spirit of natural-scientific thinking, it
      can be retained through the force of the soul
      for other fields.

      [Branch 1.xac -- a third branch of the 1.2a
      antithesis (the objection that occult science is
      unscientific); I call it the "ac" branch:]

      [1.2ac -- Another continuation of the antithesis
      1.2a; this theme:  the proposition that
      science requires the guidance of natural-sensory

      Something, however, arises here that may cause
      misgivings. In studying nature, the soul is
      guided by the object under consideration to a
      much greater degree than is the case when non-
      sensory world contents are studied. In the
      latter study, the soul must possess to a much
      greater degree, from purely inner impulses, the
      ability to hold fast to the scientific mode of
      thinking. Since many people believe,
      unconsciously, that this can be done only
      through the guidance of natural phenomena, they
      are inclined, through a dogmatic declaration, to
      make their decisions accordingly; as soon as
      this guidance is abandoned, the soul gropes in a
      void with its scientific method.

      [1.3ac -- Steiner's answer to the thesis and
      antithesis considered together (1.1 and
      1.2ac):  this objection arises through weak
      scientific practices:]

      Such people have not become conscious of the
      special character of this method. They base
      their judgment for the most part upon errors
      that must arise if the scientific attitude is
      not sufficiently strengthened by observation of
      natural phenomena and, in spite of this, the
      soul attempts a consideration of the non-sensory
      regions of the world.

      [1.4ac -- Behold the "self-evident":  that there
      does exist much unscientific talk about the non-

      It is self-evident that in such cases there
      arises much unscientific talk about non-sensory
      world contents.

      [1.5ac -- The archetype of such failed attempts
      at occult science:]

      Not, however, because such talk, in its essence,
      is incapable of being scientific, but because,
      in such an instance, scientific self-education
      in the observation of nature has been neglected.

      [1.6ac -- Individualization of this general
      principle:  how the individual occult scientist
      ("whoever") deals with such failures, of which
      there are manifold examples (particular

      Whoever wishes to speak about occult science
      must certainly, in connection with what has just
      been said, be fully awake in regard to all the
      vagaries that arise when, without the scientific
      attitude, something is determined concerning the
      revealed mysteries of the world. It would,
      however, be of no avail if, at the very
      beginning of an occult-scientific presentation,
      we were to speak of all kinds of aberrations,
      which in the souls of prejudiced persons
      discredit all research in this direction,
      because they conclude, from the presence of
      really quite numerous aberrations, that the
      entire endeavor is unjustified. Since, however,
      in the case of scientists, or scientifically
      minded critics, the rejection of occult science
      rests in most instances solely upon the above
      mentioned dogmatic declaration, and the
      reference to the aberrations is only an often
      unconscious pretext, a discussion with such
      opponents will be fruitless. Nothing, indeed,
      hinders them from making the certainly quite
      justifiable objection that, at the very outset,
      there is nothing that can definitely determine
      whether the person who believes others to be in
      error, himself possesses the above characterized
      firm foundation.

      [1.7ac -- The upshot:  what is required of the
      occult scientist for the avoidance of such
      aberrations and for the presentation of genuine
      occult science -- real science is open to
      testing and supported only by reason and facts:]

      Therefore, the person striving to present occult
      science can simply offer what in his estimation
      he has a right to say. The judgment concerning
      his justification can only be formed by other
      persons; indeed, only by those who, avoiding all
      dogmatic declarations, are able to enter into
      the nature of his communications concerning the
      revealed mysteries of cosmic events. To be sure,
      he will be obliged to show the relationship
      between his presentations and other achievements
      in the field of knowledge and life; he will have
      to show what oppositions are possible and to
      what degree the direct, external, sensory
      reality of life verifies his observations. He
      should, however, never attempt to present his
      subject in a way that produces its effect by
      means of his art of persuasion instead of
      through its content.

      [Branch 1.xad -- Another branch ("d") of the
      discussion growing from the 1.2a antithesis]

      [1.2ad -- Theme:  another objection, that occult
      science does not give "proof":]

      The following objection is often heard in regard
      to the statements of occult science: "These
      latter do not offer proof; they merely assert
      this or that and say that occult science
      ascertains this."

      [1.3ad -- Steiner's answer, the "sythesis" of
      thesis 1.1 and antithesis 1.2a/ad:  the
      enhanced soul-abilities do in fact encounter
      non-sensory facts:]

      The following exposition will be misjudged if it
      is thought that any part of it has been
      presented in this sense. Our endeavor here is to
      allow the capacity of soul unfolded through a
      knowledge of nature to evolve further, as far as
      its own nature will allow, and then call
      attention to the fact that in such development
      the soul encounters supersensible facts. It is
      assumed that every reader who is able to enter
      into what has been presented will necessarily
      run up against these facts.

      [1.4ad -- But look:  there is a difference
      between sensory and non-sensory facts:]

      A difference, however, is encountered with
      respect to purely natural scientific observation
      the moment we enter the realm of spiritual

      [1.5ad --  The archetype of this difference is
      that occult science brings soul activity into
      the forefront, even requires that this be so:]

      In natural science, the facts present themselves
      in the field of the sense world; the exponent of
      natural science considers the activity of the
      soul as something that recedes into the
      background in the face of the relationships and
      the course of sensory facts. The exponent of
      spiritual science must place his soul activity
      into the foreground; for the reader only arrives
      at the facts if he makes this activity of the
      soul his own in the right way. These facts are
      not present for human perception without the
      activity of the soul as they are — although
      uncomprehended — in natural science; they enter
      into human perception only by means of soul

      [1.6ad -- Individualization of this archetype:
      the individual exponent reaches the individual
      student thusly:]

      The exponent of spiritual science therefore
      presumes that the reader is seeking facts
      mutually with him. His exposition will be given
      in the form of a narration describing how these
      facts were discovered, and in the manner of his
      narration not personal caprice but scientific
      thinking trained by natural science will
      prevail. It will also be necessary, therefore,
      to speak of the means by which a consideration
      of the non-sensory, of the supersensible, is

      [1.7ad -- The upshot:  what "proof" is in occult

      — Anyone who occupies himself with an exposition
      of occult science will soon see that through it
      concepts and ideas are acquired that previously
      he did not possess. Thus he also acquires new
      thoughts concerning his previous conception of
      the nature of "proof." He learns that for an
      exposition of natural science, "proof" is
      something that is brought to it, as it were,
      from without. In spiritual-scientific thinking,
      however, the activity, which in natural-
      scientific thinking the soul employs for proof,
      lies already in the search for facts. These
      facts cannot be discovered if the path to them
      is itself not already a proof. [*Man kann diese
      (Tatsachen) nicht finden, wenn nicht der Weg zu
      ihnen schon ein beweisender ist.*]  Whoever
      really travels this path [*Wer diesen Weg
      wirklich durchschreitet . . . .*] has already
      experienced the proving in the process: nothing
      can be accomplished by means of a proof applied
      from without. The fact that this is not
      recognized in the character of occult science
      calls forth many misunderstandings.

      [Cycle 2 -- The whole discussion of this chapter
      now takes a major turn, from the justification
      of "occult science" as a true science, to
      explanations of the development of the occult
      scientist himself.]

      [2.1 -- The new thesis -- its theme:  two
      essential premises of occult science:]

      The whole of occult science must spring from two
      thoughts that can take root in every human soul.
      For the occult scientist, as he is meant here,
      these two thoughts express facts that can be
      experienced if we use the right means.

      [2.2-- A preview of the antitheses:]

      For many people these thoughts signify extremely
      controversial statements about which there may
      be wide differences of opinion; they may even be
      "proved" to be impossible.

      [2.1 -- The exposition of the thesis resumes:]

      These two thoughts are the following. First,
      behind the "visible" there exists an invisible
      world, concealed at the outset from the senses
      and the thinking bound up with the senses; and
      second, it is possible for man, through the
      development of capacities slumbering within him,
      to penetrate into this hidden world.

      [Comment:  These premises, the "thoughts", are
      not logically independent.  Obviously, the
      second could be true only if the first were
      true.  Therefore, the statement of the first
      thought makes explicit a logical implication of
      the second thought.]

      [2.2 continues -- Four antitheses branch from
      the general antithesis 2.2:  denials (four in
      particular {"a","b","c", and "d"} -- and one in
      general {"e"}) of the foregoing basic premises:]

      [2.2a -- The objection that there is no non-
      sensory world, that the questions arising in
      that world can be solved out of that world

      One person maintains that there is no such
      hidden world, that the world perceived by means
      of the human senses is the only one, that its
      riddles can be solved out of itself, and that,
      although the human being at present is still far
      from being able to answer all the questions of
      existence, a time will surely come when sense
      experience and the science based upon it will be
      able to give the answers.

      [2.2b -- The objection that the inherent limits
      to human knowledge will not allow cognition of
      that hidden world, which might exist:]

      Others state that we must not maintain there is
      no hidden world behind the visible, yet the
      human powers of cognition are unable to
      penetrate into it. They have limits that cannot
      be overstepped. Let those who need "faith" take
      refuge in a world of that kind: a true science,
      which is based upon assured facts, cannot
      concern itself with such a world.

      [2.2c -- Another objection:  that the attempt to
      gain *knowledge* of the hidden world is

      There is a third group that considers it
      presumptuous if a man, through his cognitive
      activity, desires to penetrate into a realm
      about which he is to renounce all "knowledge"
      and be content with "faith." The adherents of
      this opinion consider it wrong for the weak
      human being to want to penetrate into a world
      that is supposed to belong to the religious life

      [2.2d -- A fourth objection:  that only personal
      opinion, not objective knowledge, of the hidden
      world is possible:]

      It is also maintained that a common knowledge of
      the facts of the sense world is possible for
      everyone, but that in respect of supersensible
      facts it is only a matter of the personal
      opinion of the individual, and that no one
      should speak of a generally valid certainty in
      these matters.

      [2.2e -- Just a note that many other objections

      Others maintain still other things. [in response
      to the two premises]

      [2.3a -- Steiner's answer, "synthesizing" the
      2.1 thesis and the 2.2a antithesis:  that
      the riddles in the sensory world cannot be
      solved in that world itself; they require
      answers from another world:]

      [This "element" itself can be seen as a 7folded
      sub-cycle comprised of seven dialectical sub-

      [2.3a.1 -- *These* (of the sub-cycle 2.3a):]

      It can become clear that the observation of the
      visible world presents riddles that can never be
      solved out of the facts of that world
      themselves. They will never be solved in this
      way, although the science concerned with these
      facts may have advanced as far as is possible.
      For the visible facts, through their very inner
      nature, point clearly to a hidden world.

      [2.3a.2 -- *Antithese*]

      Whoever does not discern this . . . .

      [2.3a.3 -- *Synthese*]

      . . . . closes his mind to the riddles that
      spring up everywhere out of the facts of the
      sense world. He refuses to perceive certain
      questions and riddles; he, therefore, thinks
      that all questions may be answered by means of
      the sensory facts.

      [2.3a.4 -- *Anschauung* (beholding)]

      The questions he wishes to propound can indeed
      all be answered by means of the facts that he
      expects will be discovered in the future. This
      may be readily admitted.

      [2.3a.5 -- *Wahrnehmung der Idee* (perceiving of
      the archetypal, Platonic Idea)]

      But why should a person wait for answers to
      certain things who does not ask any questions?

      [2.3a.6 -- *Individuallsierung*]

      Whoever strives for an occult science merely
      says that for him these questions are self
      evident and that they must be recognized as a
      fully justified expression of the human soul.

      [2.3a.7 -- *Einheit des Individuelien und des
      Allgemeinen* (unity of the individual and the

      Science cannot be pressed into limits by
      forbidding the human being to ask unbiased

      [2.3b -- Steiner's answer to the 2.2b
      antithesis:  there are no inherent limits to
      human cognition:]

      [Again, this "element" can be seen as a 7folded
      sub-cycle, if we presume that the sub-thesis
      2.3b.1 is implicit, already stated in the
      thesis 2.1 of the larger cycle.]

      [2.3b.2 -- The sub-antithesis, a re-statement of
      the antithesis under consideration, 2.2b:]

      The opinion that there are limits to human
      cognition that cannot be overstepped, compelling
      man to stop short before an invisible world, . .

      [2.3b.3 -- The sub-synthesis:  Steiner admits a
      partial justification of the antithesis:]

      . . . . must be replied to by saying that there
      can be no doubt about the impossibility of
      finding access to the invisible world with the
      kind of cognition referred to here. Whoever
      considers that form of cognition to be the only
      possible one cannot come to any other opinion
      than that the human being is denied access to a
      possibly existent higher world.

      [2.3b.4 -- But the crux of the matter is that if
      there were another kind of cognition, it might
      allow knowledge of a non-sensory world; the
      opposite premise implies the opposite

      Yet the following may also be stated. If it is
      possible to develop another kind of cognition,
      this then may well lead into the supersensible
      world. If this kind of cognition is considered
      to be impossible, then we reach a point of view
      from which all talk about a supersensible world
      appears as pure nonsense.

      [2.3b.5 -- The Idea behind the 2.3b synthesis
      is that the doctrine of the necessary limits to
      cognition rests merely on the lack of experience
      on the part of the advocate of that doctrine:]

      From an impartial viewpoint, however, the only
      reason for such an opinion [that "this kind of
      cognition is considered to be impossible"] can
      be the fact that the person holding it has no
      knowledge of this other kind of cognition.

      [2.3b.6 -- This Idea applied in this case shows
      that this critic's lack of knowledge does not
      justify his making his own lack into a general
      necessity for everyone:]

      Yet how can a person pass judgment upon
      something about which he himself admits his
      ignorance? Unprejudiced thinking must hold to
      the premise that a person should speak only of
      what he knows and should not make statements
      about something he does not know. Such thinking
      can only speak of the right that a person has to
      communicate what he himself has experienced, but
      it cannot speak of the right that somebody
      declare impossible what he does not know or does
      not wish to know.

      [2.3b.7 -- The upshot of this sub-cycle:  that
      someone's lack of knowledge does not give him
      the justification to deny to everyone the
      possibility of such knowledge:]

      We cannot deny anyone the right to ignore the
      supersensible, but there can never be any good
      reason for him to declare himself an authority,
      not only on what he himself can know, but also
      on all that a man can not know.

      [2.3c -- Steiner's answer to the charge of
      presumptuousness:  occult science is not
      presumptuous; on the contrary, not to strive for
      this kind of science is a shirking of cosmic

      In the case of those who declare that it is
      presumptuous to penetrate into the domain of the
      supersensible an occult-scientific exposition
      has to call attention to the fact that this can
      be done, and that it is a transgression against
      the faculties bestowed upon man if we allow them
      to stagnate, instead of developing and making
      use of them.

      [2.3d -- Steiner's answer to the charge that
      occult science is only a matter of personal
      opinion:  genuine occult science arrives at
      consistent results:]

      Whoever thinks, however, that the views
      concerning the supersensible world must belong
      entirely to personal opinion and feeling denies
      what is common to all human beings. It is
      certainly true that the insight into these
      things must be acquired by each person for
      himself, but it is also a fact that all human
      beings who go far enough arrive, not at
      different opinions about these things, but at
      the same opinion. Differences of opinion exist
      only as long as human beings wish to approach
      the highest truths, not by a scientifically
      assured path, but by way of personal caprice.
      It must again be admitted, however, that only
      that person is able to acknowledge the
      correctness of the path of occult science who is
      willing to familiarize himself with its

      [2.4 -- The "beholding" element of the second
      cycle (of the whole chapter):  the two basic
      premises are grasped by "recognition",
      "assuming", "divining", "consciousness",

      At the proper moment, every human being can find
      the way to occult science who recognizes, or
      even merely assumes or divines, out of the
      manifest world, the existence of a hidden world
      and who, out of the consciousness that the
      powers of cognition are capable of development,
      is driven to the feeling that the concealed is
      able to reveal itself to him.

      [Now, apparently, this second cycle of the
      chapter stops short of completion; a new theme
      appears for consideration; the theme of the two
      premises is replaced by the theme of the
      strengthening of life forces:]

      [3.1 -- The thesis:  the prospect of "victory"
      over weakness in life:]

      To a person who has been led to occult science
      by means of these soul experiences there opens
      up not only the prospect of finding the answer
      to certain questions springing from his craving
      for knowledge, but also the quite different
      prospect of becoming the victor over all that
      hampers and weakens life.

      [3.2 -- The opposing principle:  denial of the
      supersensible weakens life forces:]

      It signifies, in a certain higher sense, a
      weakening of life, indeed a death of the soul,
      when a human being sees himself forced to turn
      away from the supersensible, or to deny it.
      Indeed, under certain conditions it leads to
      despair when a man loses hope of having the
      hidden revealed to him.

      [3.3 -- Synthesis:  the implications of the
      foregoing two contentions, considered together:]

      This death and despair in their manifold forms
      are, at the same time, inner soul opponents of
      occult-scientific striving. They appear when the
      inner force of the human being dwindles. Then
      all force of life must be introduced from
      without if such a person is to get possession of
      any life force at all. He then perceives the
      things, beings, and events that appear before
      his senses; he analyses these with his
      intellect. They give him pleasure and pain, they
      drive him to the actions of which he is capable.
      He may carry on in this way for a while yet at
      some time he must reach a point when he inwardly
      dies. For what can be drawn from the world in
      this way becomes exhausted.

      [3.4 -- The crux of the matter:  something that
      is hidden in the "depths of things":]

      This is not a statement derived from the
      personal experience of one individual, but the
      result of an unbiased consideration of all human
      life. What guards against this exhaustion is the
      concealed something that rests within the depths
      of things. If the power to descend into these
      depths, in order to draw up ever new life-force,
      dies away within the human being, then finally
      also the outer aspect of things no longer proves
      conducive to life.

      [3.5 -- The big picture, the Idea:  the
      individual's misfortune in the denial of occult
      science is a loss for the whole world:]

      This question by no means concerns only the
      individual human being, only his personal
      welfare and misfortune. Precisely through true
      occult-scientific observations man arrives at
      the certainty that, from a higher standpoint,
      the welfare and misfortune of the individual is
      intimately bound up with the welfare or
      misfortune of the whole world. The human being
      comes to understand that he injures the whole
      universe and all its beings by not developing
      his forces in the proper way. If he lays waste
      his life by losing the relationship with the
      supersensible, he not only destroys something in
      his own inner being — the decaying of which can
      lead him finally to despair — but because of his
      weakness he creates a hindrance to the evolution
      of the whole world in which he lives.

      [3.6 -- This general principle manifests in the
      deep feelings in the individual human soul:]

      The human being can deceive himself. He can
      yield to the belief that there is no hidden
      world, that what appears to his senses and his
      intellect contains everything that can possibly
      exist. But this deception is only possible, not
      for the deeper, but for the surface
      consciousness. Feeling and desire do not submit
      to this deceptive belief. In one way or another,
      they will always crave for a concealed
      something, and if this is withdrawn from them,
      they force the human being into doubt, into a
      feeling of insecurity of life, indeed, into
      despair. A cognition that reveals the hidden is
      capable of overcoming all hopelessness, all
      insecurity, all despair, in fact all that
      weakens life and makes it incapable of the
      service required of him in the cosmos.

      [3.7  -- The upshot, driving the point home: 
      spiritual scientific knowledge strengthens the

      This is the beautiful fruit of the knowledge of
      spiritual science that it gives strength and
      firmness to life, and not alone gratification to
      the passion for knowledge. The source from which
      this knowledge draws its power to work and its
      trust in life is inexhaustible. No one who has
      once really approached this source will, by
      repeatedly taking refuge in it, go away

      [Cycle 4 -- A new theme:  concerning the
      accusation that occult science estranges the
      practitioner from life:]

      [4.1 -- The thesis is implicit:  "this
      knowledge", i.e. occult science, is possible and

      [4.2 -- The antithesis:  the charge of

      There are people who wish to hear nothing about
      this knowledge because they see something
      unhealthy in what has just been said.

      [4.3 -- The synthesis of thesis 4.1 and
      antithesis 4.2:  the partial justification of
      the charge of unhealthiness:]

      Such people are quite right in regard to the
      superficial and external side of life. They do
      not wish to see stunted what life offers in its
      so-called reality. They consider it weakness
      when a person turns away from reality and seeks
      his salvation in a hidden world that to them
      appears as a fantastic, imaginary one.

      [4.4 -- The crux of the matter:  this
      justification is *only* partial; it is a half-

      If, in our spiritual scientific striving, we are
      not to fall into an unhealthy dreaminess and
      weakness, we must acknowledge the partial
      justification of such objections. For they rest
      upon a healthy judgment that leads, not to a
      whole, but only to a half-truth through the very
      fact that it does not penetrate into the depth
      of things, but remains on the surface.

      [4.5 -- The general principle at work here:  the
      charge of unhealthiness is serious and would be
      fatal; it is not to be met in an abstract way:]

      Were the striving for supersensible knowledge
      likely to weaken life and to estrange men from
      true reality, then such objections would
      certainly be strong enough to remove the
      foundation from under this spiritual trend. Also
      concerning such points of view, spiritual-
      scientific endeavors would not take the right
      path if they wished to "defend" themselves in
      the usual sense of the word.

      [4.6 -- That charge is to be met rather by the
      factual, experiential examples of the
      individual, life-healthy occult scientists

      Here also they can only speak out of their own
      merit, recognizable to every unprejudiced
      person, when they make evident how they increase
      the vital force and strength in those who
      familiarize themselves with them in the right

      [4.7 -- The upshot, the implication of this

      These endeavors cannot turn man into a person
      estranged from the world, into a dreamer; they
      give him strength from the sources of life out
      of which his spirit and soul have sprung.

      [Cycle 5 -- Concerning the objection that the
      occult student is presented with information the
      likes of which he has never experienced --]

      [5.1 -- Again, the thesis is implicit:  occult
      science exists as a real science.]

      [5.2 -- This antithesis consists of the
      objection that in the approach (as presented in
      this book) to occult science the reader is given
      information the likes of which he likely has not
      and does not experience himself:]

      Many a man encounters still other intellectual
      obstacles when he approaches the endeavors of
      occult science. For it is fundamentally true
      that the reader finds in the presentation of
      occult science a description of soul experiences
      through the pursuit of which he can approach the
      supersensible world-content. But in practice
      this must present itself as a kind of ideal. The
      reader must at first absorb a comparatively
      large number of supersensible experiences in the
      form of communications, experiences that he,
      however, has not yet passed through himself.

      [5.3 -- The resolution of the preceding
      conflict:  this occult info is not given as
      dogma, but as a spark.  (This chapter now being
      parsed is the introduction to the whole book,
      and here Steiner's discussion points to what is
      to follow, and to why it follows as it does.)]

      This cannot be otherwise and will also be the
      case with this book. The author will describe
      what he believes he knows about the nature of
      man, about his conduct between birth and death,
      and in his disembodied state in the spiritual
      world; in addition, the evolution of the earth
      and of mankind will be described. Thus it might
      appear as though a certain amount of alleged
      knowledge were presented in the form of dogmas
      for which belief based on authority were
      demanded. This is not the case. What can be
      known of the supersensible world-content is
      present in him who presents the material as a
      living content of the soul, and if someone
      becomes acquainted with this soul-content, this
      then enkindles in his own soul the impulses that
      lead to the corresponding supersensible facts.

      [5.4 -- The crux of the matter:  when reading
      this info one is really living *in* the
      supersensible facts described:]

      While reading the communications concerning
      spiritual-scientific knowledge, we live in a
      quite different manner than we do while reading
      those concerning external facts. If we read
      communications from the outer sense world, we
      are reading about them. But if we read
      communications about supersensible facts in the
      right way, we are living into the branch of
      spiritual existence. In absorbing the results
      we, at the same time, enter upon our own inner
      path to them. It is true that what is meant here
      is often not at all observed by the reader.
      Entrance into the spiritual world is imagined in
      a way too similar to an experience of the
      senses; therefore, what is experienced when
      reading about this world is considered to be
      much too much of the nature of thought. But if
      we have truly absorbed these thoughts we are
      already within this world and have only to
      become quite clear about the fact that we have
      already experienced, unnoticed, what we thought
      we had received merely as an intellectual

      [5.5 -- The archetypal Idea behind this
      principle:  such communications are integral and
      necessary to the proper path of knowledge:]

      Complete clarity concerning the real nature of
      what has been experienced will be gained in
      carrying out in practice what is described, in
      the second and last part of this book, as the
      "path" [*Weg*] to supersensible knowledge.
      It might easily be thought that the opposite
      would be the right way; that this path should be
      described first. That is not the case. For
      anyone who only carries out "exercises" in order
      to enter the supersensible world, without
      directing the attention of his soul to definite
      facts concerning it, that world remains an
      indefinite, confused chaos. We learn to become
      familiar with that world naively, as it were, by
      gaining information about certain of its facts,
      and then we account for the way in which we
      ourselves, abandoning naiveté, fully consciously
      acquire the experiences about which we have
      gained information. If we penetrate deeply into
      the descriptions of occult science we become
      convinced that this is the only sure path to
      supersensible knowledge.

      [5.6 -- An important illustration of this Idea
      at work:  this path does not work through

      We shall also realize that the opinion that
      supersensible knowledge might at first have the
      effect of a dogma through the power of
      suggestion, as it were, is unfounded. For the
      content of this knowledge is acquired by a soul
      activity that takes from it all merely
      suggestive power and only gives it the
      possibility of appealing to another person in
      the same way in which all truths speak to him
      that offer themselves to his thoughtful
      judgment. The reason the other person does not
      at first notice that he is living in the
      spiritual world does not lie in a thoughtless,
      suggestive absorption of what he has read, but
      in the subtlety and unfamiliarity of what he has
      experienced in his reading.

      [5.7 -- The upshot and summation of this cycle,
      driving this point home:  through study of the
      results of occult science the beginner already
      participates in supersensible knowledge:]

      — Therefore, by first absorbing the
      communications as given in the first part of
      this book, we become participators in the
      knowledge of the spiritual world; by means of
      the practical application of the soul exercises
      given in the second part, we become independent
      knowers of this world.

      [Here remains only the final paragraph of this
      chapter.  But how does it fit into the 7folded
      pattern, if at all?  The preceding cycle has
      been completed, so this last paragraph might
      seem to stand alone.  But does it really? -- Not
      all the preceding cycles were completed; one
      apparently was cut short at the fourth element;
      it left off with the thought "that the powers of
      cognition are capable of development".  The
      central idea of this last paragraph is that
      these developed powers of cognition make the
      occult scientist himself into the "instrument of
      research" in occult science.  So:  here,apparently,
      is a continuation of Cycle 2 and its completion,
      following where it left off:

      [2.5 -- *Die Wahrnehnumg der Idee*; here is to
      be seen the essential Idea at work in the thesis
      that "it is possible for man, through the
      DEVELOPMENT OF CAPACITIES slumbering within him,
      to penetrate into this hidden world" in the
      practice of a true science:]

      In the spirit and true sense of the word, no
      real scientist will be able to find a
      contradiction between his science built upon the
      facts of the sense world and the method by which
      the supersensible world is investigated.

      [2.6 -- In this case, this general Idea means
      that the individual occult scientist is himself
      the "instrument" of research:]

      The scientist makes use of certain instruments
      and methods. He produces his instruments by
      transforming what "nature" offers him. The
      supersensible method of knowledge also makes use
      of an instrument. This instrument is man
      himself. This instrument, too, must first be
      made ready for higher research. The capacities
      and forces given to man by nature, without his
      assistance, must be transformed into higher
      capacities and powers.

      [2.7 -- The upshot, the summation of the second

      Man is thereby able to make himself the
      instrument for research in the supersensible

      [That last sentence, even the whole paragraph is
      also a culmination of the second half of the
      chapter (concerning the development of
      capacities slumbering within the occult
      scientist), and by implication, the first half
      too (the contention that occult science is
      really scientific).]

      [But why is the second cycle completed here,
      apparently in the "wrong" place? --

      [What if the last elements of Cycle 2 had been
      placed in the normal sequence, immediately after
      the first elements? -- Then they would not
      have appeared as summarizing Cycles 3,4, and 5,
      and the whole second part, nor the whole chapter. 

      [What if the first elements of Cycle 2 had been
      placed immediately preceding the last elements
      of that cycle at the end of the chapter? -- Then
      they would not have appeared as introducing the
      second part of the whole chapter, with its theme
      of the path of development of the occult

      [This last paragraph appears as an emphatic,
      pithy, startling summary:  a bomp-ba-domp
      musically for the whole chapter, which is like a
      first movement of a massive symphony, the
      greater part of which is to follow. -- Is this
      placement Steiner's conscious intention at work? 
      Or, as Bondarev suggests, was Steiner "just
      thinking" and following the natural movements of
      the thoughts themselves? -- I suspect the
      latter; that this was Steiner's artistry, were it
      conscious or unconscious.  Any true artist (as
      Bondarev also said?) does not impose a
      preconceived pattern upon his work; he follows
      the natural revelation of his subject-matter

      [In parsing this chapter I have asked myself
      whether I am imposing a preconceived pattern
      (the 7fold dialectic as I understand from
      Bondarev) upon text that is not really patterned
      that way, or whether the pattern is really
      "there".  (BTW, it is also logically possible
      that I was "imposing" while the pattern was
      really there anyway.) -- But in the actual
      history of my work here, I could not find the
      7folded pattern in the way that I expected to
      find it.  Yet it is also true that I likely
      would not have "seen" the 7foldedness at all if
      I had not already been looking for it.  Now I
      feel fairly sure of the "streams", as it were
      (the "cycles" and "branches"), that I have
      marked, but somewhat less sure of my segmenting
      of these streams into the "elements".  Still, I
      have held back from marking off some elements
      ("sub-elements") of which I was less sure.  So,
      as in a previous post, I have the feeling that I
      might be missing some sub-cycles.

      [And so . . . here is where I might hope that
      "two heads are better than one".  Here is where
      I would ask for others' perceptions and
      criticisms; perhaps by working together we could
      arrive at greater clarity about the structure of
      this chapter.  But yet again, I must caution
      that any discussion on my part would likely
      proceed very slowly.]

      [Submitted for your consideration,

      [Robert Mason]
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